Jun 172011

By Sam Conner–

The Winslow City Council spent much of its Tuesday night meeting discussing vacancies and term limits on city boards and commissions. There were two items on the agenda dealing with this subject and both received much discussion.

The item on procedures for selection of commission and board members was revised to allow nominations made to and by commission members or staff when there are no applications coming as a result of advertisements. The vote for the change was 4-1, with Councilmen Peter Cake, Harold Soehner and Marshall Losey, and Councilwoman Marsha Juergens in favor, and Councilman Thomas Chacon in opposition. Mayor Robin Boyd and Councilman Curtis Hardy were not in attendance.

An item which was to change the term limits provision was tabled unanimously after a prolonged discussion.

During the discussion there were suggestions that members whose terms had expired and who had served as many terms as allowed by ordinance would be eligible to be reappointed if there were no applicants. A suggestion that drew comments as being beneficial was that persons interested in serving on a board or commission could fill out an application for any vacancy that might occur on that body even if there were none at the time the application was filed. Such persons may obtain applications from the city clerk. Councilman Marshall Losey suggested that vacancies be announced during broadcasts of council meetings on the radio.

City Manager Jim Ferguson reported that the president of the company planning the oriented strand board (OSB) project had said earlier in the day that the Forest Service seems ready to make a decision as early as the coming fall. The project would be very beneficial to Winslow, but could well take as much as a couple of years to become a reality.

The council approved an ordinance extending the one percent transaction privilege sales tax for an additional five years. The tax extension had been approved in a recent election.

The city manager was authorized to make exceptions to the mandatory trash services. Exceptions must provide for proper trash disposal to be exempted from the service.

The council voted to allow trash service vacation charge options with a minimum of three months and a maximum of six months for such actions.

A number of citizens spoke on a variety of issues during the call to the public. Judy Howell and Marie LaMarr both spoke on several issues, and had spoken during the discussion on board and commission selections and term limits. One speaker said that the knowledge that persons could apply for board or commission vacancies before such occur was a good idea, but criticized the trash collection options as not taking their cost into account.

Most of the speakers were there regarding a rumor that plans were in existence for closing of the indoor swimming pool. They were opposed to such an action.

Ironically, City Manager Ferguson had said at the beginning of the meeting that the indoor pool would not be closed and that all personnel would remain on the job.

He also said that the city was planning to have a balanced budget with no cutting of services, including no closing of the pool.

Alan Rosenbaum noted during an early report that the city had changed and improved lighting at city hall, the Girl Scout house and two other locations, making for better lighting at less expense. He also said that studies were underway with an energy audit that should allow some further savings. The city is looking into going solar where practicable.

A special events liquor license for the Winslow Firefighters Association for the Fourth of July was approved.

The consent calendar was adopted, including approvals of the check register, minutes of May 24 meetings, award of a bid for motor vehicle fuel to the Winslow Fuel Company in the amount of the firm’s cost plus 12.5 cents per gallon and $50 per hour for offsite deliveries, and transfer of Highway User Revenue Fund proceeds to the sanitation fund. Transfer of funds from the mayor and council contingency fund to the police department special services account was approved in a separate vote after Police Chief Steve Garnett and Finance Director Regina Reffner explained the reasons for the transfer and that the funds were available.